Etendue: Chuck DeMund

    Date Posted: 
    Thursday, November 5, 2015

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    Welcome to Etendue, featuring interesting and accomplished individuals known for their leadership and contributions both with their careers and the College of Optical Sciences, in their own words. (For a similar view on the college’s best and brightest – our students – please check out Another Wavelength among our Students in the Spotlight.)

    This week, we hear from Chuck DeMund.

    Where are you from?  

    I was born in Evanston, Illinois and grew up in Phoenix, AZ. As an adult, I lived in San Diego for many years and now reside in Waxhaw, NC.

    Chuck DeMund - Underwater Filming - Optical Sciences EtendueDescribe your professional career.

    After a "false start" in broadcast television, I began my real career with the then new Astronautics Division of Convair (part of General Dynamics) in San Diego in an entry-level job in their motion picture department. I learned photo instrumentation there as well as documentary film making. After 36 very exciting years with the company, I retired in 1992 from a vice-president role at the General Dynamics corporate office in St. Louis.   

    Who were some of your greatest influences throughout your career?  

    My interest in things photographic was initially stimulated by the gift of a professional 4x5 camera by our neighbor in Phoenix, Barry Goldwater. I knew him well and his values have always been a part of my thought process. TV and film producer David Susskind was a huge influence after I worked with him starting in 1986.

    Having an instrumental role in the foundational strength of SPIE, please share a single best SPIE experience.

    SPIE's early days were challenging. A key to our growth was hiring Joe Yaver as the executive director (1969-1993). The energy of the volunteers, working under the practice of learn-as-you-go-along, made it possible to organize seminars and produce proceedings at a very rapid and efficient pace. This enabled SPIE to do what it still does best, which is bringing experts together to report on their work. A side benefit that developed from our early table-top exhibits was that they morphed into Photonics West, the largest optical technology trade show in the world now held annually in San Francisco.

    What is the DeMund Foundation's interest in the College of Optical Sciences?

    The DeMund Foundation was founded by my father, Herman DeMund, in 1946. He was a great believer in the value of a college education and funded scholarship programs at the Arizona schools. The University of Arizona was a choice from the beginning. Our Board initially stipulated that a portion of our funding was to support the UA School of Medicine, then the only medical school in the state. In recent years, as a result of my meeting many of the principals at the College of Optical Sciences through SPIE, we funded an annual graduate student scholarship to support recipients who specialize their research in the combined fields of optics and medicine. When the announcement was made in February 2014 of Jim Wyant's incredible matching gift offer to establish endowments for graduate student scholarships, we signed up on the following day – as did SPIE. We are very proud of the DeMund Foundation scholarship. 

    Chuck DeMund - Andretti Racing Experience - Optical Sciences Etendue

    [Editor’s note: The DeMund Foundation Graduate Student Endowed Scholarship in Optical and Medical Sciences is one of 30 FoTO (Friends of Tucson Optics) scholarships at the College. Each FoTO scholarship offers a perpetual award of $20,000 minimum to a first-year PhD student. Their tuition is also waived.]

    Name one neat fact about you.

    At age 82, I am still active in SPIE. I also pursue hobbies ranging from race cars and antique autos to drone photography.

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